In addition to diseases, shortage of food and parasite infestation, the use of pesticides may also pose a threat to bee colonies. Beekeepers who suspect that their colonies have been poisoned can have this examined free of charge at the JKI.
Many plant protection products (PPPs), especially fungicides and herbicides, are harmless to bees. They can even be applied to flowering crops. However, PPPs classified as hazardous to bees are subject to the requirements of the Bee Protection Ordinance, which prohibits their use on flowering plants or restricts their application to the late evening after the daily bee flight. If approved plant protection products are used correctly, damage to bees can be ruled out with a high degree of certainty.
However, if beekeepers suspect that their animals have been harmed by PPPs, they can send bee and plant samples to the Investigation Centre for Bee Poisoning Incidents at the JKI. The biological and chemical examinations are free of charge. Proof of poisoning is the basis for settling claims with the beekeepers' insurance company.
The reported cases of suspected poisoning are processed in close cooperation with the plant protection services of the federal states. If the JKI investigations reveal that improper application of plant protection products has led to the death of bees, the pollutor can be punished with a fine and, in the case of farms, with a reduction in funding under cross-compliance, which links EU payments to protection standards.
The findings on bee poisoning obtained from the analyses are used to prevent future damage. They are incorporated into the risk assessment of plant protection products carried out by the JKI Institute for Bee Protection as part of the PPP approval process.